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U.S. News

California: Curtains Up on STDs -- Medical Group Gets Info About Sensitive Issues Out Through Theater

February 3, 2012

For 25 years, Kaiser Permanente's theater troupe has raised the curtain on health concerns such as STDs and sexual health for high school audiences. "We're one of the largest theatrical organizations that do this public-based, public health theater," said Gerry Farrell, director of Kaiser Permanente Southern California's Educational Theater. "This is such a better way of presenting information about health, especially for this age group."

For example, the play "What Goes Around" deals with STDs, including HIV. In the production, actors -- who also are health educators -- play the roles of boyfriend and girlfriend Eli and Alicia. Eli cheats on Alicia with an old girlfriend, thinking he is protected from disease because the girl is on birth control.

Eli soon discovers his ex has left him a "downtown souvenir" -- in this case, chlamydia and human papillomavirus infection. Much of the rest of the play focuses on how Eli plans to explain this to Alicia.

Following a recent performance for continuing students at John Wooden High School in Reseda, the actors led a question-and-answer session. These days, youths' wired worlds lead to a host of questions, from different types of sexual behavior to alleged household cures for STDs.

"They have some of the same questions I had when I was in high school," said performer Ray Auxais. "The only difference now is technology. We're constantly having to evolve the show."

Back to other news for February 2012

Adapted from:
Daily News of Los Angeles

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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